The Big Mountain Proclamation of Independence 1979 & the Resistance Outpost:
The resistance gatherings throughout 1977 and 1979 produced a declaration signing by 65 local traditional Dineh elders. These signers declared that Big Mountain area (approx. 450,000 acres) as a sovereign country based on the Treaty of 1868 and based on the supreme holiness of the Sacred Mountain Soil Bundle. The Survival Camp would play a major role for the initiatives of the proclamation. It would be the resistance outpost to be maintained by mostly Dineh youths of the Longest Walk 1978. Its key objectives would be to disrupt federal jurisdictional activities related to relocation, fencing, livestock reduction, and surveillence. These objectives would be conducted non-violently according to Elders directives. Additional objectives were to create supporter-network systems on behalf of the elder resisters and facilitate general assemblies for meetings, schools, ceremonies, and other future complexes for elder-care. The Camp's existence (1981-1993) had one of the largest impact for this indigenous resistance to oppression and genocide.
Federal Marshals and the FBI falsely concluded that "this Camp was for militant purposes, and if there were ever to be an armed stand-off and compare that to the Wounded Knee seige of 1973, Wounded Knee would be nothing but peanuts."
Unfortunately, the Feds and the BIA Agency through manipulations and undermining assisted Navajo tribal officials to coerced a few local Dineh to disband the Survival Camp in 1991. The feds and the BIA tribe won majority of the peoples' approval by using the deception that some partitioned lands will be exchanged. Also, the underminings had created much dissension among the resistance that the Camp's merits were being questioned. Longest Walk 1978 participant and local custodian, Bahe Katenay, tried to keep the spirit of the Survival Camp alive but was soon overcome by the backlashes and he seek other alternative means to maintain the Dineh resistance. The last stand at the Survival Camp was the Sun Dance of July 1996 when again federal and Indian police disrupted the attempted re-occupation of the Survival Camp and the reinstatement of Dineh sovereignty.
©Sheep Dog Nation Rocks, 2008